How to help a friend who is going through a bad time?

Surely among your friends or even family there is a person who lives a crisis that repeats itself and needs your comfort and advice .

It may be that every time you fall in love intensely you will experience a love failure and therefore you will be distressed; that before the same discussions he loses control and reacts with anger without thinking about what he says; who feels a paralyzing phobia of elevators or social situations, recognizes it with great shame and only tells it to you; or even having a hard time leaving the house. In these cases, it is normal to feel bad, to notice that you are very concerned about their mood each time you meet.

Good friends carry that responsibility, taking action in case of concern. The question is … what can we do in the face of a friend’s crisis? What is the limit to act? What if I generate rejection for insisting on a solution or seeking help? What difference is there between the performance of a professional and that of a friend?

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How to help a friend in a bad time

If you are looking for knowledge to alleviate situations in which close people are having a hard time and there seems to be no remedy and their anguish overflows, this information is for you.

1. Listening is always the first and most important step

When we talk about listening, we differentiate it from “hearing” in that we not only pay attention to what they tell us, but we are present and we notice what it feels like to tell it. They may transmit sadness, frustration and anger, a feeling of helplessness … And the way we respond to each circumstance changes noticeably.

If you achieve this state of receptivity, by responding you will make him listen to you . Somehow, for that person to be advised or encouraged, it is necessary that you allow yourself to be influenced; This is how healthy relationships work, and that is what we mean when, in many articles from colleagues about this, we mention that you should not launch into advice before listening.

2. There is no need to be in a hurry to answer or to find a solution

We know that when there is anxiety, tension and a lot of nerves, the feeling is that you have to find an urgent way out. But from experience we can transmit to you that this is not the case, but on the contrary, you have to breathe, lower your nerves, think as clearly as possible .

Something very significant that patients usually express to us about their friends is that “the most important thing when I told him…. He just listened to me, he didn’t judge me and he stayed with me ”, and we notice how they relax when they tell it, how they find some serenity in the silence. That is why we tell you that, even if it seems that you do nothing by keeping silent and waiting, you really do a lot .

3. That I don’t follow your advice doesn’t mean I don’t listen to you

If, when speaking, your friend remains silent, it is that she lets your message reach her. It is a sign that his relationship with you is important, and if he does not follow that advice, it is probably because he does not fit in with his situation, or that he does not know how to follow it .

In many occasions, something more internal than behavior is what prevents making changes that improve people’s well-being. Anxiety crisis, mental blocks (“go blank”), confusion, turning the same idea over and over again… make it extremely difficult to implement the actions necessary to reach the solution. We insist on that idea, we know that it is frustrating to see how a loved one remains in the same problem, but maintaining your presence is important .

4. When is it important to seriously recommend seeking help?

As we mentioned in the previous section, when the situation recurs and there seems to be no reason for the problem to persist, it is time to recommend professional help .

Sometimes it may generate some discomfort to recommend going to a psychologist or psychologist, because it seems that you are calling him “crazy” or that you recognize that “he is not capable of solving his problem”. But nothing is further from reality, it is a gesture of care and honesty, very important in friendship in difficult situations.

I put it this way: would you allow your friend to continue drinking alcohol once he has lost control after a few drinks? Would you let him continue playing sports if he had an injured foot, or would you seriously recommend going to a professional to heal yourself? This is the same logic that we follow, if there is a personal crisis that is not resolved and repeats, it is time to recommend a psychology professional .

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5. To take care of your friend, it is important that you take care of yourself

It is true that, in some contexts, your friend can saturate you with their problem, be very insistent and not know how to stop. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unable to act on it.

We must know how to say enough and recognize that only acting from our safety can we help those who need us. If we lose control, we will only add frustration and tension to the problem. It is in this situation when you can find yourself giving hasty advice, trying to console with typical phrases (“nothing happens”, “in time it will pass” …) or even expressing that “you do nothing to remedy it” “always happens what Himself ”“ it seems that you like to suffer ”. Before you regret losing control, better stop and regain it, only by taking care of yourself can you take care of who cares about you.


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